CASTLE Point Council has spent more than £12,500 on brand new iPads for its councillors.
All 41 councillors have been given top-of-the-range iPad Airs by the authority, the latest model on the market, at a cost of £311 each – a total of £12,751.
The 5th generation devices are currently being dished out to councillors only, with the council saying the move was in line with many councils across the country.
Councillor Lee Barratt says he thinks the iPads are not needed as councillors already have laptops.
He said: “It seems we need iPads to fulfil our functions and that expenditure seems unnecessary. We are being told we need iPads, but I don’t know why in these times of supposed austerity.
“The laptop I was givenmore than a year ago already had Windows 7 pre-installed on it so do I need this extra money spent on me? We are in the business of bureaucracy and although some people may be adept at flicking through large documents on an iPad I amcertainly not.”
Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: “iPads are a premium product with a premium price tag, so councillors must be crystal clear how their purchase is going to save taxpayers’ money.
“Only by going totally paperless will the council stand a chance of saving money though these purchases.
Councillors can’t afford any half measures with this rule, and even then they must explain why they’ve chosen to buy the most expensive tablets on the market."
The iPad’swill replace the councillor’s laptop computers, which are thought to be at least three years old.
The move follows the announcement that technology giant Microsoft is bringing its support for Windows XP – the computer operating system currently used by the council – to an end on April 8.
The council recently passed its annual budget for 2014/15, with the council stating it would be looking to save £33,000 in the next 12 months in respect of IT equipment, following cuts of £722,000 by central government.
Acouncil spokesperson said: “Due to their age, many of the council’s laptop computers are not capable of running the new operating system.
Any laptops that can be upgraded will be used to replace devices currently used by officers.”